The Friday Pint #50 – The One Pint To Rule Them All

So, here we are at the end of the year, and with the 50th post of the series. As we’re both at the end of the year and a significant numbered post, it seems appropriate to take a look back over the past year and determine just what were the best beers consumed as part of writing these posts.

You may have seen the longlist I posted a couple of weeks ago. Compiling that list I found that there were many I couldn’t remember, but also a few that stood out as clear front runners for the overall winner.

I feel I should point out that for a couple of these I have since had pints (or in one case, bottle), that probably wouldn’t have made it to this post if that is how the beer was when their respective Friday Pint post was written. Each of these beers have gained their place based on the impression they made on that occasion, and number one is a beer I wish I’d drunk more of when it was on draught.

The winners

5. Anderson Valley Winter Solstice – The Friday Pint #45 (Original Post Date – 23rd November 2012)

In retrospect, I didn’t write enough about this beer, or the location that I drunk it in. I’ll admit now that the only reason I was drawn to it was to obtain the badge on untappd, but I’m glad I was.

I enjoyed Winter Solstice enough to buy a bottle to take back with me from the USA, which I still have waiting to be drunk. With the experience I’ve had recently with another of the beers featured in this post, it’ll be interesting to see how I find the beer when I drink it again.

4. Dancing Man Brewery DNA – The Friday Pint #35 (Original Post Date – 31st August 2012)

When I first wrote about this beer I was somewhat uncertain about it. Since that first pint, which was for me too sweet, I have since had pints of DNA that have been just right, and one pint that seemed to be lacking in marmalade sweetness and somewhat watery.

Despite its seemingly inconsistent nature, DNA is a beer that intrigues me. I still can’t quite determine how much I like it. It’s most definitly a beer I’d drink again though.

3. Brodies Superior London Porter – The Friday Pint #14 (Original Post Date – 6th April 2012)

Brodies Superior London Porter, along with Fuller’s London Porter, are the porters that set the benchmark for all other porters for me, especially when they are on form.

It really has been far too long since I last visited a Brodies run pub, especially considering the beers they’ve been outputting this year, including their Peach Sour, which impresed me at the Euston Tap a few weeks ago.

2. Otley Experimental Stout – The Friday Pint #41 (Original Post Date – 19th October 2012)20121019-180943.jpg

The pump clip (a handwritten piece of corrugated cardboard) described Otley’s Experimental Stout as being “a bit bretty”. I was expecting a bit of sourness. What I actually got was a wonderful flavoursome stout that worked way beyond what I was actually expecting.

As a result, a brett infused stout is on my list of beers to brew at some point in the future. Hopefully, it’s on Otley’s list to brew again too.


1. Vibrant Forest Black Forest Porter – The Friday Pint #40 (Original Post Date – 12th October 2012)20121012-191543.jpg

My first taste of Vibrant Forest beer back in January was a bottle of Dark Castle Porter, drunk as part of Porter Weekend. Whilst I enjoyed it as a porter, I felt it needed a bit more flavour to make it stand out.

Black Forest Porter was the beer I wished Dark Castle Porter was. It was full of wonderful Brambling Cross fruitiness, and enjoyable enough to go back for more.

Last Friday, I had the chance to drink Black Forest Porter again, this time from a bottle. The bottle was brought to my house by my friend Chris, with who I shared a pint or two of the beer when it was available on draught at The Platform Tavern back in October. We both agreed that, whilst it was still a very nice porter, it was lacking the fruitiness that made it so moreish on draught.

Through the process of drinking my homebrew porter I’ve seen how time can change the flavour of a porter. When it went into the bottles from the fermenter it was of similar fruity levels to the Black Forest Porter. Recent bottles I’ve opened have started to see the smoked malt I used come out more, with the fruitiness starting to mellow.

As I said at the start of this post though, the judging has been based on the beer I drunk when writing the original post, and Black Forest Porter was by far the most enjoyable Friday Pint of the year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of The Friday Pint. It shall return next year, albeit it with limitations. Enjoy the rest of 2012, and have a very happy 2013.

See you in the new year.


The Friday Pint #49 – Dancing Man Brewery 16 Tonne Stout (again)

It’s Friday 21st December. The penultimate Friday of the year. The last Friday before Christmas. I am on my way home.

Before I finally get home, I yet again stop off in The Platform Tavern, home of Dancing Man Brewery, and a Friday Pint regular. It’s busy in here. I manage to find a small table and stall in the corner of the pub. A supporting pillar blocking my view of the many groups of people. The sound is familiar. It’s that low murmuring of a dozen conversations happening at once. If I try I can focus on one, but the murmuring is a much nicer sound. It’s the sound of a thriving pub, of people coming together.

Beside me on the table is a pint of 16 Tonne Stout. I had this a few weeks ago, and was told then that they had brewed a second batch, as the chilli levels in the first weren’t quite high enough. As a stout, I thoroughly enjoyed that first pint, though I did agree that as a chilli chocolate stout, it was lacking in a chilli kick some what.

I’m assuming this is from the second batch. There seems to be much more of a chilli kick on the aftertaste, though as a result, the chocolate seems overwhelmed. Personally, I preferred the first batch, though if a middle ground somewhere between the two could be found, I think I’d be quite happy.

I look around at the people I can see and try to figure out who would be here on a Friday afternoon if it wasn’t Christmas. I think it would be a lot emptier. As the Christmas pub outings carry on around me, I’m going to attempt to come up with a Friday Pint top 5 for next weeks post, and also draw up a brew schedule for next year.

Merry Christmas dear readers, may Santa bring you all the beers you’ve asked for.



The Friday Pint – The longlist for the best “pints” of 2012

In just 16 days time we will be saying goodbye to 2012, and hello to 2013. That means there’s still two Fridays left for a late winner to emerge.

What’s in contention at the moment though? Well, I’ve gone through and made a note of almost everything that has been consumed as part of a Friday Pint post. Below is that list. I think I know my winners.

What do you think they’ll be?

The Friday Pint Best of 2012 Longlist

Buxton Wild Boar
Brodies Columbus For Breakfast
Itchen Valley Treacle Stout
Sharps Own
London Brewing Company Beer Street
Dancing Man Pilgrims pale Ale
Red Squirrel Scottish Ale
Black Isle Organic Porter
Otley O8 and Motley Brew
ELB Foundation Bitter
Fullers Spring Sprinter
Odell IPA
Fullers London Pride
Brodies Superior London Porter
Sadlers Sprung
Hardknott Aether Blaec (2011 Epsilon)
Otley O3 Boss
Raw Brewing Grey Ghost IPA
Great Lakes Elliot Ness
Otley Odessa and O6 Porter
Tiny Rebel Cwtch and Dirty Stop Out
Brains All At Sea
Fullers Wild River
Sadlers Solar Bear
Dark Star Saison
Arbor Ales Port Stout
Dancing Man DNA
Crate Brewery Lager/IPA/Golden Ale
Trent Navigation Traditional/Golden/Pale/Classic IPA/Back of the Net/High and Dry/Stout
Vibrant Forest Black Forest Porter
Tap East London Extra
Howling Hops Five Hop IPA
Otley Experimental Stout
Howling Hops Poacher
London Brick
Camden Gentlemen’s Wit
Camden Jopa
This Means Nothing To Me (Hallertaur Edition)
Brewdog Chocolate and Coffee Stout
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice
Dancing Man 16 Tonne Chilli Chocolate Stout
Oakham Ales Winter Wrath


The Friday Pint #48 – Oakham Ales’ Winter Wrath

I have a confession to make.

I completely forgot about the Friday Pint this week.

I did have a pint, of the above mentioned beer, however I neglected to note what it actually tasted like. All I can tell you is that Winter Wrath is a stout, and I enjoyed it enough that I finished my pint, with no real complaints. That being said, it wasn’t good enough that I was running back to the bar to buy another. It was simply one of the many beers that occupy that vast middle ground of beers that aren’t really amazing or drain pours.

I had planned to try the Paradox Jura wings at the newly opened Brewdog Birmingham. Unfortunatly, there was some work going on, and so I ended up in the Post Office Vaults. This actually turned out to be a good thing, it was dry, the cask line up was the best I’d seen in there, with beers from Art Brew and Tiny Rebel on top of the Oakham I had.

They’d also restocked the Cantillon Geuze, and as no trip to the Post Office Vaults would be complete without a lambic, I merrily obliged.

As for Brewdog Birmingham, it’s a Brewdog bar. If you’ve been to any of the others that have opened in the last year and a half you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. There’s been a lot of excitement around it’s opening, and rightly so. At the moment, there’s no where else in the city offering a similar range of keg beers.

Brewdog have already announce their plans to open more bars next year, and as much as I’ve had gripes with the way they do things, I’d welcome one in Southampton. I’m sure there’s plenty of empty premises they can take, and if they can stick it half way between The Rockstone and The Platform Tavern, I’ll be happy.

A man can dream can’t he?


The Golden Pints 2012

Once again, Mark Dredge at Pencil and Spoon and Andy Mogg at Beer Reviews have got together to organize The Golden Pints, which asks bloggers to nominate thier winners in a number of categories to see who wins overall.
Here are my nominations…
Best UK Draught Beer
Dancing Man Pole-Axed – Noteable for being one of a very small group of citra hopped IPAs that I actually enjoyed drinking. Ignoring the hype laden story that accompanied the beer, Pole-Axed is a beer I want to drink again.
Noteable mentions – Vibrant Forest Black Forest Porter, Fuller’s Wild River, Otley Odessa, Sadler’s Dr Hardwicke’s
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
Camden 1908 – of which I still have a few bottles left. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to it with time. The fact it’s unlikely to ever be brewed again means this is somewhat of a futile experiment, but where would we be without curious people doing pointless things?
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Buckeye Lake Stout – So nice I took some away with me in a growler, and drank it for breakfast the next two mornings.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Best Overall Beer
Dancing Man Pole-Axed – if it’s made available again next year I shall be using one of my 10 exceptions to go and drink some more.
Best Pumpclip or Label
Tiny Rebel’s designs have been the stand out for me this year. Noteable mentions go to the Beer Geek and Dancing Man designs.
Best UK Brewery
Dancing Man Brewery – I was somewhat critical of the initial brews at the launch back in January, but what Aidan the brewer told me that night gave me hope that there may be better things to come. Not only have there been better brews since then (Pole-Axed being my clear favourite), the quality of those four initial brews have also improved.
Notable mentions – Vibrant Forest.
Best Overseas Brewery
Erie Brewing Company – For some of the best hospitality at a brewery tour and tasting I’ve ever experienced. Note to other breweries, enthusiasm can have a big effect on how much I listen to someone.
Pub/Bar of the Year
The Rockstone, Southampton – This could have easily gone to The Platform Tavern, but given that Dancing Man Brewery already has a few mentions on this list, I thought I’d give this category to Southampton’s best new pub, which recently celebrated it’s first birthday.
Beer Festival of the Year
Supermarket of the Year
Independent Retailer of the Year
Bitter Virtue
Online Retailer of the Year
I think the only non brewery site I’ve ordered from this year is Beers of Europe, so I suppose, them.
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Best Beer Blog or Website
Best Beer Twitterer
I asked on twitter who was best at twitter, and @rabidbarfly said he was. No one else said they were, so I guess it’s him, unless anyone else can suggest otherwise.
Best Online Brewery Presence
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Geuze and blue cheese
In 2013 I’d most like to…
Do more homebrew


The Friday Pint #47 – Dry Days

Every good beer drinker should have a couple of dry days in their beer schedule each week. A dry day being a day without alcohol, to allow the body to recuperate.

For me, today is one of those days.

I try to make everyday I’m at work a dry day. I work a 7 day fortnight, so in theory, I should be dry for half the year. This isn’t exactly true. There are some work days where I end up at the pub, usually for lunch, or a quick post work pint (though the latter is more rare). There’s also holidays, where I’ll most likely end up drinking something every day.

Next year I expect I’ll be having a lot more dry days, as I’ll be going through a year of not buying beer. Whilst there will be some exceptions (I’ll be giving myself 10 passes to use throughout the year), and I will still be able to drink what I’ve already bought before the new year, there will still come a point where the beer will run out.

There are multiple reasons for choosing to do this next year, not just the fact that I think it would make a good weekly replacement for The Friday Pint. A full explanation of the project will go up in the new year. In the meantime, I’ve got some Session posts to read.


The Session #70 – Don’t Believe The Hype

This month, it is my turn to host The Session. A monthly project set up by Stan Hieronymus and Jay Brooks to get beer bloggers around the world talking about one specific subject each month.

For my subject, I’ve decided to focus on hype, and before I go off and read what everyone else has written, I’m going to throw my tuppence-worth into the mix.

Hype, in many ways, is both self perpetuating and a double edged sword. Without hype, there are many beers (and other products), that I simply wouldn’t be aware of. Likewise, without hype, a number of products that I have found to be disappointing may very well have been satisfactory.

The Westverletren 12, which I referenced in my introduction post to this session a few weeks ago, falls victim to that issue of not living up to it’s hype. I certainly enjoyed it, yet I feel that the preceding hype of it being “The best beer in the world” led to it being disappointing.

In the months leading up to this, I had wanted to try an experiment to try and see how descriptions of a beer can affect opinion. In it, I would have given a group of people the same beer twice. On one occasion I wouldn’t have said much, other than describe the beer. On the other, the beer would be an award winning beer, loved by people around the world, complete with added superlatives to describe it.

Alas, I was unable to find the time, or suitable place, to do such a thing, and so I can’t say what I found, yet I’m sure such experiments have already been carried out elsewhere.

If you’re reading this, please do read some of the contributing posts to this month’s session. You should be able to find most of them in the comments to the announcement post, here.